Besh Barmag, bird migration, science

September at Besh Barmag – Much heat, less birds

Text & Photos © Pia Fetting

Volunteer Esther releasing a Wryneck
After some stormy and colder days in the beginning of September, temperatures rose again and it was once more like midsummer; still very hot (30+°C) and very dry. After more than three month without rain in this region, all ponds and lagoons were empty.
Additionally, strong winds almost every day resulted in low activity of resting birds and thus often empty mist-nets. Furthermore, kettle, dogs and other animals around posed a threat to the nets.

Trying to fix by cows destroyed nets
Excursion in the surroundings
Seawatching at the Caspian Sea
 Bonfire in the evenings
Together with the arriving volunteers I caught well over 500 birds in September. Sylvia warblers were still very common, but more and more autumn species like Common Redstarts, Common Rosefinches and Red-breasted Flycatchers mixed with them. In particular, we were glad about catching each one male Siberian Stonechat ssp. maurus and variegatus at the same day.

Though common around, still impressive in hand (f.t.l.t.b.r. Nightjar, Kingfisher, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Hoopoe)
One of the most common species in autumn: Red-breasted Flycatcher (adult male)
Siberian Stonechat ssp. maurus
By the end of the month cloudy and rainy days brought some more birds to the bushes and nets and we also had some more intense migration days with many terns, raptors, herons and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters being noticed while bird ringing ( As the first volunteers already had to leave and new people were coming, we met with some people of NatureFriends Azerbaijan in a traditional restaurant in Baku and had a nice farewell- and welcome- Dinner.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters on roosting site
Dinner in Baku

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